Movie Review: The Virgin Suicides (2000)

Title: The Virgin Suicides
Release Date: April 21, 2000
Director: Sofia Coppola
Production Company:  Paramount Classics  | American Zoetrope | Muse Productions | Eternity Pictures

The five sisters of the Lisbon family – Therese (Leslie Hayman), Mary (A. J. Cook), Bonnie (Chelse Swain), Lux (Kirsten Dunst), and Cecilia (Hanna R. Hall) – are teenagers growing up in a prosperous suburb of Detroit.  Their strict and religious mother (Kathleen Turner) and father (creepy ass James Woods) control their lives, particularly to prevent them spending time with boys and dating.  Most of the movie takes place after Cecilia takes her own life and a therapist urges the Lisbons to allow the other girls to have more of a social life.  Lux forms a quick romantic attachment to the most popular boy in the school, Trip Fontaine (Josh Hartnett).

The great thing about this movie is that it really captures the awkwardness of being a teenager.  There are no 28-year-old teenagers here as most of the young cast are actual kids.  The weird thing about this movie is that it’s told from the perspective of a group of boys who obsessively watch the Lisbon sisters narrated in the first person plural by Giovanni Ribisi.  I think the point of this movie is to be so over the top that it reveals the insidiousness about how teen girls are sexualized and how women in general are treated as mysteries to be solved.  It is deeply unsettling as it’s designed to be.

Rating: ****